Penn State University’s WasteLESS Tech took home the top $50,000 prize at the 2018 Allegheny Cleantech University Prize (Cleantech UP) collegiate competition in early April. The team was one of 11 student-led teams that participated in the competition, following over a month of practice and preparation, including expert guidance on business, financial modeling, analysis, and pitching.
Carnegie Mellon University’s (CMU’s) Wilton E. Scott Institute for Energy Innovation hosted the regional competition as part of its Energy Week. Chanette Armstrong, Director of the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Office of Technology Transitions and proud CMU alumna, moderated the competition and presented the prizes. "It was exciting and inspiring to be surrounded by so many bright young minds seeking to commercialize their innovative new technologies," said Armstrong. "These competitions are where you can see the solutions to our next energy challenges."
For the competition, WasteLESS developed a sprayable surface coating called Liquid Entrenched Smooth Surfaces (LESS) for toilet surfaces, which reduces bacteria accumulation, requiring up to 90% less water to maintain a clean surface. Along with second and third place winners, Ecotone Renewables of CMU and Boundary Labs of Case Western University (respectively), WasteLess will progress to DOE’s National Cleantech UP Competition in June. To learn more about the winning technologies, view the finalists’ final pitches.
The Allegheny Cleantech UP Competition is part of DOE’s Cleantech UP, a competition that intends to inspire and equip student entrepreneurs by providing them with the mentorship, business development skills and training, and investor feedback they need to turn their clean energy ideas into businesses with real-world solutions.
Cleantech UP is part of the Tech-to-Market Program within DOE’s Office of Efficiency and Renewable Energy. Learn more about the 2018 Cleantech UP collegiate competition.